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The Long Homecoming

Ghanaian Migrant Business and Power in Veneto, Italy

Hans Lucht

Abstract

This article discusses the challenge of returning home after years abroad from the perspective of Ghanaian labor migrants in northern Italy. It seeks to explore how Ghanaian migrants after years of hard work still find themselves fundamentally estranged from Italy and constantly must navigate day-to-day experiences of bigotry and discrimination in the workplace. Yet the migrants realize that returning home to Ghana is not as straightforward as they might have imagined when they set out, and how to protect advances upon returning to a home country that has changed rapidly during their years in Italy is a recurring subject of concern. Based on ethnographic vignettes, the article will explore West African migrants’ everyday struggles in Italy's segregated and crisis-hit labor market.

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“Looking for One's Life”

Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco

Sébastien Bachelet

Abstract

This article examines how “irregular” migrants from West and Central Africa make sense of their trapped mobility in Morocco: for many, crossing into Europe has become almost impossible, returning to home countries “empty-handed” a shameful option, and staying very difficult in the face of repeated infringement of their rights. I explore the limits of contemporary depictions of a “migration crisis” that portray migrants south of the Mediterranean Sea as simply en route to Europe and fail to engage with (post)colonial entanglements. The article recalibrates the examination of migrants’ lived experiences of stasis and mobility by exploring the emic notion of “adventure” among migrants “looking for their lives.” A focus on how migrants articulate their own (im)mobility further exposes and defies the pitfalls of abstract concepts such as “transit migration,” which is misleading in its implication of a fixed destination.

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Migration as Survival

Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability

Gerhild Perl

Abstract

How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.

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Moving-with-Others

Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia

Paolo Gaibazzi

Abstract

The article argues for an intersubjective understanding of mobility among aspirant migrants in the Gambia. Among other factors, Gambian young men's desire to reach Europe and other destinations may stem from an experience of dispersal and abandonment in migrant households. Emigration becomes a way of restoring the viability of relationships, in a socioeconomic sense of regenerating ties and flows between migrants and nonmigrants, as well as in an existential-kinetic sense of experiencing others as moving closer to oneself. By highlighting intersubjective mobility, the article contributes to widening the scope of an existential take on movement and stasis. It further revises popular and scholarly views on the role of families and migrants in shaping aspirations to emigrate.

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“My Visa Application Was Denied, I Decided to Go Anyway”

Interpreting, Experiencing, and Contesting Visa Policies and the (Im)mobility Regime in Algeria

Farida Souiah

Abstract

This article explores the ways people targeted by restrictive migration and mobility policies in Algeria experience, interpret, and contest them. It focuses on the perspective of harragas, literally “those who burn” the borders. In the Maghrebi dialects, this is notably how people leaving without documentation are referred to. It reflects the fact that they do not respect the mandatory steps for legal departure. Also, they figuratively “burn” their papers to avoid deportation once in Europe. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article outlines the complex and ambiguous attitudes toward the legal mobility regime of those it aims to exclude: compliance, deception, delegitimization, and defiance. It contributes to debates about human experiences of borders and inequality in mobility regimes. It helps deepen knowledge on why restrictive migration and mobility policies fail and are often counterproductive, encouraging the undocumented migration they were meant to deter.

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Refuge and History

A Critical Reading of a Polemic

Benjamin Thomas White

Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. Alexander Betts and Paul Collier. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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“Windrush Generation” and “Hostile Environment”

Symbols and Lived Experiences in Caribbean Migration to the UK

Huon Wardle and Laura Obermuller

Abstract

The Windrush scandal belongs to a much longer arc of Caribbean-British transmigration, forced and free. The genesis of the scandal can be found in the post–World War II period, when Caribbean migration was at first strongly encouraged and then increasingly harshly constrained. This reflection traces the effects of these changes as they were experienced in the lives of individuals and families. In the Caribbean this recent scandal is understood as extending the longer history of colonial relations between Britain and the Caribbean and as a further reason to demand reparations for slavery. Experiences of the Windrush generation recall the limbo dance of the middle passage; the dancer moves under a bar that is gradually lowered until a mere slit remains.

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Book Reviews

Sabina Barone, Veronika Bernard, Teresa S Büchsel, Leslie Fesenmyer, Bruce Whitehouse, Petra Molnar, Bonny Astor, and Olga R. Gulina

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Book Reviews

Rosa E. Ficek, Shanshan Lan, Walter Gam Nkwi, Sarah Walker, and Paula Soto Villagrán

Decentering the State in Automobility Regimes

Kurt Beck, Gabriel Klaeger, and Michael Stasik, eds., The Making of an African Road (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 278 pp., 34 illustrations, $78 (paperback)

Understanding Globalization from Below in China

Gordon Mathews, with Linessa Dan Lin and Yang Yang, The World in Guangzhou: Africans and Other Foreigners in South China’s Global Marketplace (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 256 pp., $27.50 (paperback)

Rethinking Mobility and Innovation: African Perspectives

Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, ed., What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017), 256 pp., 25 black-and-white illustrations, $36 (paperback)

When Is a Crisis Not a Crisis? The Illegalization of Mobility in Europe

Nicholas De Genova, ed., The Borders of “Europe”: Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 376 pp., $27.95 (paperback)

City, Mobility, and Insecurity: A Mobile Ethnography of Beirut

Kristin V. Monroe, The Insecure City: Space, Power, and Mobility in Beirut (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016), 204 pp., 7 photographs, $27.95 (paperback)

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Designing a Green Belt for Xalapa City

Veracruz under current Mexican policies

Griselda Benítez, Gerardo Alvarado-Castillo, René A. Palestina, Mara Cortés, Kari Williams, and Israel Acosta

English abstract: Green Belts are often proposed as an alternative for containing urban sprawl, restoring ecological processes, recovering connectivity, and maintaining the multi-functionality that cities need. This article analyzes a proposed Green Belt for Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. It is spatially examined through GIS analysis and designed on the notion of Garden City as a strip to circumvent the city. Existing conditions are also discussed. Two existing conservation initiatives are compared to the proposed Green Belt strategy. Its establishment requires agreements between Xalapa and surrounding municipalities. The proposed strategy brings local government and citizens together to preserve the remaining vegetation and thus promote the well-being of local inhabitants.

Spanish abstract: Los cinturones verdes frecuentemente se han propuesto como una alternativa para contener la expansión urbana desordenada, restaurar los procesos ecológicos y recuperar la conectividad, y mantener la multifuncionalidad que las ciudades necesitan. Este artículo analiza un esquema de Cinturón Verde para Xalapa, Veracruz, México. Es espacialmente examinado, diseñado bajo el concepto de Ciudad Jardín, como una franja que rodea a la ciudad, el análisis se elaboró con un SIG. Las condiciones existentes también se discuten. Se comparan dos iniciativas de conservación existentes con la estrategia propuesta de Cinturón Verde. Su establecimiento requiere acuerdos entre Xalapa y los municipios aledaños. La estrategia propuesta requiere reunir a los gobiernos locales y ciudadanos para preservar la vegetación remanente y así promover el bienestar de los habitantes locales.

French abstract Les ceintures vertes sont fréquemment proposées comme une alternative pour limiter l’expansion urbaine désordonnée, restaurer les processus écologiques, récupérer la connectivité et maintenir la multifonctionnalité que les villes requièrent. Cet article analyse une proposition de ceinture verte pour Xalapa dans l’état du Veracruz au Mexique. Celle-ci est examinée et élaborée en particulier à partir du concept de cité-jardin, formée par une trame qui entoure la ville et son analyse a été élaborée par un Système d’information géographique (SIG). Les conditions existantes sont également discutées. Deux initiatives de conservation qui suivent la stratégie de la ceinture verte sont comparées. Leur mise en oeuvre implique des accords entre Xalapa et les municipes des alentours. La stratégie proposée impose la réunion des gouvernements locaux et des citoyens pour préserver la végétation restante et faciliter la promotion du bien-être des habitants.